Howard's creates lifetime of smiles in Shiner (Video)
July 7, 2012 at 2:07 a.m.
SHINER - Howard Gloor eased the tap back, the cold, golden, foamy beverage that put his hometown on the map filling the cup held underneath.
A former dentist, Gloor has owned and operated Howard's - part convenience store, part bar, part museum - for almost 28 years.
Packing up his drill after about eight years of dentistry was an easy decision for the Shiner native.
"I needed to be in a profession where people were happy to see me," Gloor said with a laugh. "Nothing against dentistry. It's just something in my personality."
MUSIC AND MORE
And at Howard's, they are indeed glad to see him, whether buying gas, beer, ammunition or renting movies.
"Most convenience stores don't sell ammunition, but it's part of our customer base," Gloor said. "We've always sold hunting and fishing licenses as several others did, but now we're the only one in the area that does it."
Customers also come with smiles on their faces to hear the music Gloor has offered at his place for the last decade.
Robert and Sherry Pavlick of Yoakum, on a sunny Sunday in June, kicked back on the patio that Gloor added onto Howard's about 10 years ago.
On stage, a singer with an acoustic guitar filled the summer air with music.
"Howard's is a great place to sit back and relax, and it's family oriented," said Robert Pavlick.
"It's always nice to come to Shiner and to Howard's," said Sherry Pavlick. "We've followed Howard for years wherever he was playing."
Gloor, a guitarist, has played in the Crossroads for decades with various bands and plays with Bill Pekar's group.
It was Pekar who convinced Gloor to try the 2-year-old Shiner Summer Songwriter Series that features entertainers from across the state on Sunday afternoons.
The weekly music fits perfectly at Howard's where posters from every Shiner Bocktober Fest concert - 1994 to 2006 - line the walls inside the store.
"The music evolved from a few people playing on a dirt floor out back. Those few became a band, then other bands came," Gloor said, noting a slab was eventually poured and a stage added. "Bill, who is in circles where he gets to know lots of people, had the idea of bringing them to Shiner so people could hear how good they are."
Gloor has been thrilled with the response.
"I am amazed at the caliber of talent," he said. "And everyone that comes is happy to be here. The audience is attentive. It's a listening thing."
Damon Billimek, a 23-year-old singer/songwriter from Moulton, was appreciative of the chance to appear at Howard's.
"I am thankful for the opportunity," said Billimek, who has been performing live for a couple of year. "It's a fun place. A good crowd."
Gloor, who serves nine beers on tap - including all the flavors from the local brewery - for only $1.75 for a 16-ounce cup, said affordability is one thing that draws people to his place.
"It doesn't cost much money. There is never a cover charge for the music," he said. "There is a lot of word of mouth about the fellowship and fun that goes on here."
Gloor said he is blessed that Howard's has worked out the way it did and credits Shiner and its people.
"I wanted people to stay and socialize if they wanted to, not just buy beer and leave," he said. "In some places you couldn't do something like this.
"It's just a building full of stuff, but good people come here," said Gloor, pausing to fight back tears, then apologized. "I'm sorry. There are just so many memories. I've always said this is a good place because of the good people that come here."
Gloor, who celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary with wife Carol on June 12, said, "People think Shiner is a special place. Shiner has good people. Shiner has good beer. There's a mystique about Shiner."